Last week I joined a relief convoy to Thatta, As part of Future Leaders of Pakistan (FLP) ,a non-profit youth organization, relief drive for flood survivors. We were collaborating with Rotary Club Of Karachi. We covered Thatta, Sujjawal and Sharif Solangi providing relief to over 500 families.
Here are a few pointers to help others who plan to visit Thatta for Relief work: (The help guide is based on my own experience only, I am not an expert and would love to update it. If you have worked in Thatta and would like to add things to list please leave a comment)
ITEMS REQUIRED IMMEDIATELY
- Canned and ready to eat food. Food hampers will are not feasible since there are hardly any camps and families have been forced to live on roadside. They do not have cooking utensils. So the best option for relief would be cooked food.
- Chlorinated water since it is really hot in parts of Sindh, taking mineral water bottles is not advised. Providing them with chlorinated water and chlorine tablets will be a better solution
- Tents are required urgently, hundreds of families are living on mere charpais without shelter. Snakes,stray dogs and mosquitoes are rampant.
- ORS is required for children, lack of water and increasing temperature has increased incidence of dehydration. Under such conditions ORS batches have proven to be life saving
- Mosquito Coils to prevent malaria. Children are more prone to fatal malaria. Please keep more than 4 for each family.
- Emergency Lights are required since there is no electricity and situation gets worse after sunset. Po
ITEMS REQUIRED FOR SUPPORT
- Clean Clothes for women,men and children, this will ensure hygiene and prevent skin infections
- Anti-septic soaps are preferable in case one is taking family hampers. This is important to insure hygienic conditions and to prevent spread of contagious infections.
- Sanitary Napkins are required for women. Since women are use to wearing home made sanitary napkins, proving them with cotton rolls and gauze will be most adequate. This is most important because using cloth would require them to wash it, and since there is NO clean water this can cause severe Urinary Tract Infections.
- Cooking Utensils will be needed once proper camps have been set up. Ideally each family should have a set of plates,spoons and mugs which will ensure hygiene.
- Anti-rabbies,Anti-venom and Tetanus shots needed immediately, specially for children.
Co-ordination & Management:
For all those providing relief managing the crowd is one of the most pressing problems. I don’t claim to be an expert but here are a few things that helped us avoid stampede:
We began with addressing the crowd gathered for aid to settle down and remain seated on their chorpoys, in tents or at the roadside. Avoiding lines altogether, people were happy as they did not have to stand in lines, and we began distribution by handing out relief hampers to each family as we walked along the road, relief container by our side. Its advisable to carry a few lose items, specially milk and water. This will allow to modify relief hampers according to the needs of individual family. At the Sharif Solangi Camp, we lined up relief hampers and asked people to collect them in batches i.s a batch of thirty would pick up their items and leave.
Pictures from our relief drive can be seen here